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392                  JOUBNEYS IN KURDISTAN      LETTER xsxv

girdles, one of which always has a cloven hilt. They are
on their way to their native province of Lazistan with
droves of horses, and are much dreaded by both the
katirgis and khanjis on the road for their marauding
habits. The Turkish Government has a very difficult
task in ruling and pacifying the number of races which
it has subjugated even in Asiatic Turkey. Between the
Arabs of the Chaldsean Plains and the Lazes of the shores
of the Black Sea I have met even inn my limited travels
with Sabeans, Jews, Armenians, Syrians, Yezidis, Kurds,
Osmanlis, Circassians, and Greeks, alien and antagonistic
in creed and race, but somehow held together and to
some extent governed by a power which is, I think,
by no means so feeble as she is sometimes supposed
to be.

The Kharshut is crossed at Kupru Bridge by a very
fine stone arch. This village, at the foot of the Zigana
Mountain, is entirely composed of inferior khans, food
shops, and smiths' shops. The clang of hammers lasted
late into the night, for the road was reported as " icy,"
and more than 400 horses and mules were having their
shoes roughed for the passage of the Zigana Mountain. I
arrived late in the evening, when all the khans were full,
and had to put up in a hovel, the door of which was
twice attempted during the night by a band of Lazes,
about whose proceedings Stephan, my katirgi, had been
very suspicious. After the servants and katirgis, roused
by my whistle, had rushed out of an opposite stable
upon the marauders, I lay awake for some time trying
to realise that my ride of 2500 miles was nearly at an
end, and that European civilisation was only five days
off; but it was in vain. I felt as if I should always be
sleeping in stables or dark dens, always uttering the call
to " boot and saddle " two hours before daylight, always
crawling along mountain roads on a woolly horse, always